Alright guys, this is it. The final countdown to training camp. By the time this week is over we will begin the process of answering all of the questions we have been asking each other for the last few months. Until then its more of the same.
First up we have a training camp preview from Mike Detillier at Houma Today. Surprise, it discusses some people and things to watch for in the next month in Jackson, the biggest of which is Reggie Bush. Jaguars suit-wearing coach Jack Del Rio gave his thoughts on the situation.
“Reggie is already an impact performer in the league,” Del Rio said. “The average fan doesn’t pick it up because he only looks at statistics, but the coaches that have to scheme against him know just how many problems he causes when he is out on the field. There is a certain adjustment curve to the big leagues that every player goes through and a focus issue that you must overcome. Reggie gets it now. He is going to be a star performer in this league.”
The other things to watch are keeping Drew healthy, getting key players healthy, getting better in the secondary and fixing special teams. There is much more analysis behind all of those points and Mike Detillier always does a thorough job. This one is worth checking out.
Here is another one from The Advocate. It's about Coach Payton and the Saints' expectations going into the 2008 season and what they have done to try and fix last years problems this offseason.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Payton said earlier this spring. “The only thing you can look at is the fact that the record was 7-9 and not what we wanted.”
“I think the one lesson learned and something I referenced in a letter to the team when the offseason started, was that it’s hard to get behind the eight-ball and start slow,” Payton said. “When you start 0-4, you’ve really changed the odds for your team.
“Even when we got to 4-4 and won four in a row, you feel you have expended so much energy,” he said. “We never could get past that .500 mark. I think the players understand that more coming off last season.”
“Certainly, we felt the need to improve on that side of the ball,” Payton said. “We talked about a number of statistics that apply not only to our defense, but to our kicking game as well as to the offense. There are a number of things we have to pay attention to coming off of a 7-9 season.”
“Be it through free agency or the draft, there were some position needs and we fell into opportunities to address some of the needs,” Payton said. “Each offseason, you feel good about what you’ve done. But as we move forward and get into training camp and preseason,
you get a better feel for what you have.”
“Reggie is, in some form, like a lot of our players on this team,” Payton said. “He’s hungry to get something started for another season, and they’re looking forward to it.”
This one is funny! It's from Houma Today and it's titled "Things you won't hear in Jackson." Very clever.
“We didn’t throw the ball enough last season.”
“Look, Hollis Thomas is leading the sprint drill.”
“I hope they go back to the water park this summer.”
“Locking up Marques Colston isn’t really a major priority right now.”
“That No. 51 guy doesn’t really fill out a uniform very well.”
“I am really going to miss Olindo Mare.”
“Grab a sweater, it may get a bit chilly up in Jackson.”
The Clarion-Ledger is jumping into the training camp mix as well with this article. It's all about the Saints return to the Millsaps campus. For one Saint, its especially wonderful.
"It's always great to be back home," said McAllister, who's coming back from tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "I take the most pride in kids being able to see us in practice on a daily basis and see how we operate and how we work since practice is open.
"I'm most proud of the opportunity that Mississippi kids have to come see us."
Deuce was also positive about the Saints future.
"You only have so many years to make a run at a championship," said McAllister. "Hopefully we're still in the early stages and we can make a run for a couple more years."
This statement begs the question: What is going to happen in a couple more years that will hinder us from even making a run at a championship?
Do you think he is referring to Drew Brees getting older? That's my interpretation of that statement. What's yours?
The Shreveport Times did their training camp preview. It was short and not really that sweet. Scroll down toward the bottom below the more in-depth Cowboys training camp preview.
This is a good one that should make you feel good. It's from the Dallas Morning News and it is a list of ten roadblocks the Cowboys face in getting to the Superbowl this season. Guess who is public enemy numero uno?
Saints can march again
Even if Deuce McAllister fails to make a full recovery from last season's knee injury, the Saints are loaded with offensive talent. Over the last 12 games of 2007, Drew Brees had better numbers than Tony Romo, and the Saints outscored the Cowboys.
You wouldn't know it because Brees was so awful early and New Orleans was 0-4 out of the gate. The defense has been upgraded and the schedule is oh, so, favorable for that unit.
If you assume the quarterbacks listed as starters remain starters, the Saints this season face Jeff Garcia, Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Tarvaris Jackson, JaMarcus Russell, Jake Delhomme, Philip Rivers, Chris Redman, Brodie Croyle, Aaron Rodgers, Garcia, Redman, Rex Grossman, Jon Kitna and Delhomme.
March on that.
That ought to make you feel all tingly. It's one thing when all of the local writers here in New Orleans are positive and think we have a great team, but when the oppositions writers are worried, that's good news. Good point about the quarterbacks too.
The Erie Times News randomly did NFC rankings for 2008 and had the Saints in the fourth spot behind the Cowboys, Giants and Seahawks.
4. New Orleans Saints
Key stat: The Saints allowed 14 runs of at least 20 yards and 54 passes of 20-plus yards.
Here are a couple of videos for you guys. This first one is an NFC South division preview from some kid in his bedroom. I just post these because I think they are funny, I don't actually think he knows what he's talking about, though he does pick us to win the division. He starts talking about the Saints at 2:49 in.
This one ought to get you pumped. Enjoy.